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on March 15, 2017
Was interested in this topic, and the book was read by our book club. The research is well done, and the book does hold one's attention up to a point. It's simply too much girth for the subject matter; thus, after about half way through the book ... one can begin to think 'okay, got it already.' Having stated the above, if you have time on your hands, and really want to delve into this issue ... go for it!
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on October 4, 2015
This book offers a highly readable and well documented account of how many societies are generating horrendous gender imbalances. However, the final sections are quite confused. The author was unable to draw out some obvious implications from the earlier chapters, namely that the comparative ease of access to abortion, coupled with new technologies for identifying the gender of babies in the womb, had laid the basis for what amounts to systematic destruction of unborn girls. It is a feminist issue that leaves many feminists utterly confused.
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on November 30, 2015
This well-written book really delivers some chilling information. I just wonder why people aren't caring about the plight of women? The millions of aborted girls means millions of men that will never, ever have a wife. Where do people think the ISIS is coming from? Why is there a seemingly unlimited number of unmarried fighting age males? Hm? Wake up, people!
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on February 17, 2013
The topic is alarming and the book is very well-researched and informative. However, I found the book rather dense with information and a bit academic to get through even though I was transfixed by the subject matter. Even with these misgivings, however, I think it is a very important book and something that should be widely-read. The main topic is just plain scary and makes me edgy about the future of our planet dominated by a preponderance of men.
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on January 6, 2015
By far the best book I've read in 2014. The facts are presented logically so that understanding the technology is clear. It is certainly material which makes for interesting reading. Statistics lend the cases credence though one reader's complaint that the statistics are taken out of context may be a fair criticism.
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on February 1, 2012
Book Review. "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men" by Mara Hvistendahl. This is an absolutely fascinating, well researched book. It has been impossible for me to stop reading it - I was even reading it on line at Costco.

There are 163 million females missing in Asia. Why and who is to blame?

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that's as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121 --though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China's and India's populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.
Hvistendahl puts the blame squarely on sex-selection abortion. In Asia, it was found that women will continue to get pregnant until they have a son. Herein is the problem: A male child is more valued than a female child. And, in China's one-child policy, couples want a son.

Women in the U.S. have a right to have an abortion. But what if abortion was forced on them? What if abortion is used as an alternative to having a female baby? Hvistendahl gives some horrific cases of forced abortions on women 7 and 8 months pregnant. Field workers in Asia got paid for every abortion they performed.

Hvistendahl's research shows that in the 1960s the Ford Foundation, the United Nations and Planned Parenthood zealously backed the use of cheap prenatal technologies (portable ultrasound equipment) that would indicate the sex of a fetus. This was reasoned to be the best way to stop over-population. It permits women to select to have a son. In many cases, the U.S. used foreign aid as a hammer to implement sex-selection policies.

It worked.

The world is becoming increasingly male. What will that mean in the near future?

Sex-selection abortions are the reason that 163 million girls are missing from the world.

It all started with Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller "The Population Bomb." He popularized the idea that ensuring that couples had sons was an effective means of curbing population growth.

What are the consequences? Hvistendahl lists "wife tourism", bride buying, prostitution, and other horrific practices. A world predominately male brings with it increased violence and social unrest.

Yet, how can the U.S. expect other countries to ban abortions when there is really no way to know if telling a woman the sex of her fetus means the woman will have an abortion? Women go to one doctor to find out the sex of their fetus and then, if they are carrying a female fetus, go to another doctor for an abortion.

Hvistendahl illustrates the problem in South Korea which has the fourth-lowest birthrate in the world, according to the United Nations.
South Korea will soon be a country primarily of old people. To combat this frightening problem, abortion is now illegal in South Korea except in specific cases. Take for example this: In 2009, Sungshin Women's University in Seoul organized an event aimed at trying to raise awareness about the country's very low birth rate. It sparked controversy when the organizers requested women students in the audience to submit a sworn statement that they would have children.

When I visited Ethiopia 2 years ago we traveled on roads built and being built by the Chinese government. The road building is extensive throughout the country. Our tour guide said that they set up camps for the workers who did not spend any time with the locals. There is absolutely no interest in mingling with the population. All their food was prepared for them. If anyone gets sick, the managers join the workers. Quotas were always met.

As the demand for wives grows, will the men of female-starved countries seek out women from other ethnic groups?

From my column, The Devil's Hammer for Feb. 6, 2012. The fantastic Australian Bee Gees Show at Excalibur, "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men", Apollo 16 astronauts found alien ship, remote viewers say, Happy Pizza, and more... [...]
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on June 23, 2011
Mara Hvistendahl's story of the worldwide horror of gender selection favoring baby boys is riveting. She has clearly traveled the globe to reach tiny rural pockets where this abuse thrives as well as its corollary issues of sex trafficking and bride buying for the generation of men coming of age with far fewer women to pair off with. The stories of the people affected are moving in a very human way, but her scope extends far beyond that to the complicated political history that engendered this problem, which involves the US in ways that are quite shocking. And she delves into the complex issues arising from a young, single male-dominated society, such as the one that flourished in the American frontier. This is a very thoughtful, multifaceted, and compelling book.
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on July 26, 2014
Unnatural Selection came I would say at the right... Its a must read for parents who feel the need to populate the would with men. It redefines thought on family size composition and the assumption that "my neighbors will give birth to girls".
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on March 16, 2014
The topic of demographic is often overlooked by everybody: economists, politicians, scientists, yet it is probably the biggest factor in the development of any country. This is a fascinating book about demography, economics and human choice.
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on December 8, 2013
I am enjoying the book, but I've read so much on this topic that I find it really doesn't offer anything new. We keep reading about all the missing girls and how terrible it's going to be for China and India, but we continue to wait for the consequences. Yes, I believe they are going to be serious and severe (not just for these nations, but for the world who will have to put up with their instability). It's a book that says 1) Asia (mostly) messed up their gender birth ratio 2) they should stop or something bad is going to happen. Frankly, like other books on the topic, abortion is the issue and the primary killer of girls in the world. Feminists have insisted abortion is the most import fundamental right for women and then can't figure out what to do when our future women are being slaughtered before ever drawing breath (of course, they argue, governments just need to teach these poor illiterates to appreciate a girl child and all will be well..not working out is it?). A good read for someone relatively unaware of this issue.
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